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Rugby World Cup 2011
Rugby World Cup ambassador Haden resigns
Scrum.com
July 10, 2010
Former All Black Andy Haden, New Zealand v Australia, Bledisloe Cup, Sydney, July 27, 2003.
Andy Haden has resigned from his World Cup role © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Robin Brooke | Andy Haden
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Teams: New Zealand

Former All Black Andy Haden has resigned as an official ambassador for the Rugby World Cup after becoming embroiled in a second controversy in recent months.

Haden handed his resignation to World Cup Minister Murray McCully following controversial comments about what women should expect if they "targeted" prominent rugby players. He had been commenting on sex allegations against former All Black Robin Brooke, made by two unnamed women, one of whom subsequently laid a complaint with the Police over an alleged incident several years ago.

Haden made the comments while appearing as a panelist on Sky Sports' Deaker on Sport on Wednesday and they came just a month after he claimed the Crusaders Super 14 franchise kept a limit on Polynesian recruits, referring to the players as "darkies".

McCully was widely tipped to sack the former All Black from his honorary role as Ambassador of the Government's 2011 Rugby World Cup programme. But, with pressure mounting, Haden handed in his resignation. McCully said he had accepted the resignation "with sadness".

"While it had been my intention to discuss this matter with Mr Haden later today, I have, in the interim, received an email from Andy Haden relinquishing his position as a 2011 Ambassador," he told The New Zealand Herald. "I have accepted his resignation and thanked him for his excellent contribution to our 2011 programme."

Haden's resignation email said that he was resigning to "ensure that neither your leveraging initiatives or the game of rugby that I love are compromised by the current media backlash to the comments I have made on television recently."

He continued: "I feel that to stay in the role, given the current media beat-up, would mean having to remove myself from making public comments on the game or related issues. I have always believed in saying what I think and I will always be true to myself in that regard and it's a sad day for society when people such as I are unable to express what we believe without a media beat-up from those with sectional interests."

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